July 3, 2017 / 8:48 PM / 2 months ago

Konta, Watson fly the flag for Britain

Tennis - Wimbledon - London, Britain - July 3, 2017 Great Britain’s Johanna Konta celebrates winning the first round match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei HsiehToby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British number one Johanna Konta took revenge on Hsieh Su-Wei at Wimbledon on Monday, sending the Taiwanese home 6-2 6-2 after losing to her in the first round at the French Open.

The sixth seed beat two grand slam champions in a day on the grass at last week's rain-interrupted Eastbourne tournament, so came in brimming with form, but had been an injury scare after a heavy fall forced her to withdraw from her semi-final.

But she appeared to be moving well in front of a cheering Court One crowd and told reporters she felt "absolutely fine".

"I was really just trying to stay as focused on what I was trying to do out there, and not necessarily get caught up in her web," the 26-year-old said of Hsieh, who had beaten her in three sets on the Paris clay.

With the women's field wide open in the absence of pregnant 2016 champion and 23-times grand slam winner Serena Williams, Konta is among the women being tipped for a run at the title -- 40 years after Briton Virginia Wade lifted the trophy in 1977.

Tennis - Wimbledon - London, Britain - July 3, 2017 Great Britain’s Johanna Konta in action during her first round match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei HsiehToby Melville

If she were to achieve that, it would propel her to celebrity status in Britain, joining world number one and Wimbledon defending champion Andy Murray.

"I definitely would like to be involved here for the full fortnight to help, I guess, put tennis on the map that much more. But I think Andy's done a pretty tremendous job of doing that," she said.

Slideshow (11 Images)

Fellow Eastbourne semi-finalist Heather Watson, last year's Wimbledon mixed doubles champion with Henri Kontinen, also reached round two, beating Belgium's Maryna Zanevska 6-1 7-6(5) to the delight of the fans chanting her name on Court Two.

"I love being here. I think it's obvious. I always want to do well. If there's one tournament that I could pick to win, it would be this one," said wildcard Watson, the British number two and world 102.

"It's the most famous tournament in the world. It's amazing to be a part of. I always want to just do well here."

Watson plays Latvian 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova in round two. Konta will take on Croatia's Donna Vekic, who beat her in the final at the Nottingham grass court last month.

Editing by Catherine Evans

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